The Manner of Their Going: Prime Ministerial Exits from Lyne to Abbott

Norman Abjorensen

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    Abstract

    You change the Government and you change the country, so said both Paul Keating and the Prime Minister who succeeded him, John Howard. Changing the Government, however, is not necessary to change the country: a switch of Prime Minister can achieve the same. Take, for example Holt’s succession to Menzies in 1966 or Keating’s replacement of Hawke in 1991: on each occasion, the country veered off on a markedly different tack, but with the same Government still in charge. What this suggests is that Prime Ministers do not just lead a party and a Government, they also play a key role, to a greater or lesser extent, in setting the nation’s direction. The processes of attaining and exercising power make for absorbing studies. They are often tales of boldness as well as deceit; of courage as well as cowardice; of ambition as well as guile. But to look at how power is lost or relinquished is to be reminded of all that is transient; it is the story of Ozymandias. It can highlight both the heroic side of human nature as well as illuminate its more fragile aspects; it can chart the journey from the dizzying heights of command to the lonely depths of abandonment and defeat. It is, above all, to inject a very human factor into the often brutally impersonal world of politics and power. It is invariably a study in imperfection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationNorth Melbourne
    PublisherAustralian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd
    Number of pages244
    Edition1st
    ISBN (Print)9781925333213
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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